Thursday, January 7, 2010


A mural is more than paint on a wall. It is a compelling tool - bringing the student community together, working toward a common goal, and an excellent opportunity for all to participate in a collaborative project.

National Museum of African Art &
Ideal Academy Public Charter School Partnership

IDEAL Academy Public Charter School, was chartered by the DC Board of Education in 1999. The school has a population of 480 students ranging in age from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. For their new home, Shinberg.Levinas architects converted a 37,000 square foot warehouse/office space into a lively, open school. A large central space provides a focal point and multi-use gathering space for students outside of the classroom setting. Within this interior space is a 70 foot wall where the NMAfA’s Education Department has agreed to facilitate a mural project over the next year. We are working with the students and teachers, as well as creating curriculum connections for this initiative to ensure high-quality aesthetic, social and academic benefits.

Deborah Stokes
Curator for Education Youth & Public School Programs
National Museum of African Art
Smithsonian Institution


  1. What a great project. What phase of the project are you currently on?

  2. Background colors are up! Students will begin interpreting their designs for the wall this week - they are working on boards that will then be fixed to the mural wall. Reason: so that they can be taken down in case the roof leaks or needs to be relocated!

  3. The "Ndebele Artist Nation" mural is super-cool.